Lebanese President Michel Aoun threw the ball in the court of the parliamentary blocs, and called on them to take responsibility for their choices in a position he announced on the eve of the parliamentary consultations scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, to name the president in charge of forming the new government.
While the Lebanese were waiting for the contents of his speech, Aoun made several signals. The most prominent of them was not to postpone the date of consultations, as happened on Wednesday, October 14th, as he asserted his responsibility for assigning and forming the government, and “in every constitutional position and position, in the face of everyone who prevents our people from reform and the state,” according to Aoun.
And again, President Aoun recalled his history in political work since he was expelled to France, saying, “When I carried out the project of change and reform in an attempt to save the homeland, the affected people raised the barricades in my face.”
In an implicit reference to Prime Minister Saad Hariri and some parties that participated in previous governments, Aoun held the successive authorities responsible for corruption in a series of headlines in their number, asking: “Where is the judiciary from the power of the powerful?”
Aoun called on the deputies to arbitrate their consciences, recalling the one-year anniversary of the protests of October 17, 2019, and “the indications of the citizens’ anger, and their raising the slogan” everyone means all of them “included the good and the bad from us, according to Aoun.
Hariri is waiting
Meanwhile, Hariri – who is the only candidate – is waiting to be assigned to form a government, after he confirmed his intention to work on implementing the reforms required in the French initiative, in light of the continuing disagreement between him and the Free Patriotic Movement headed by Gebran Bassil, but any government formula that Aoun can accept After launching his series of positions?
Antoine Constantine, an advisor to the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil, starts from the words of President Aoun, describing it as a process of openness and frankness to the Lebanese people, to say that the course of political life in Lebanon during his reign witnessed the obstruction of all reform attempts that he proposed.
Constantine indicates – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – that Aoun’s words were positive, despite its painful content, “but he wanted to pay to take advantage of a real opportunity for reform with the remaining two years of his reign.”
Constantine believes that the questions posed by Aoun regarding the file of corruption he knows their answers in advance, and “through them he wanted to revive the memory of the Lebanese towards the political forces, by presenting a set of crises that he seeks to solve as president of the country, in line with the content of the reforms required in the French initiative paper.” .
Constantine considers that Aoun, based on the questions and problems he raised, determined the identity and function of the government required to undertake the task of reform and eliminating corruption.
It was noticeable in Aoun’s speech that he asked questions that he described as fateful and inevitable about Lebanon’s position and its role in the region’s conflicts. Hence, political analyst Ghassan Jawad (who is close to Hezbollah) believes that the president wanted to address the impact of Lebanon on the regional transformations surrounding it, and he is likely to correct him on the path of developing relations between some Arab Gulf states and Israel and the continuous normalization processes that put Lebanon in an embarrassing position that he may have. Major implications.
In this sense, Jawad considers in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that the path of forming the government will be difficult, and “the door may be opened not only to a government crisis, but to a complete governance crisis.”
Jawad believes that Aoun wanted, in the files he raised, to draft a ministerial statement, and to preserve his constitutional right to remain at the head of the government formation process.
Basil and Hezbollah
In practice, Aoun’s speech did not change the position of Bassil and his political team, which refuse to name Hariri. Accordingly, Hariri will lose the votes of the largest Christian bloc in Parliament, along with the votes of the “Lebanese Forces” party, which refuses to name Hariri as well, but is in constant conflict with Bassil.
Commenting on Bassil’s position, Constantine said, “We are the most visible political force in Lebanon, and we adhere to the unity of the standard. The postponement of the consultations did not change our position rejecting Hariri’s nomination, because we are committed to a government of specialists, with qualities that Prime Minister Hariri does not embody.”
On the other hand, no official position has yet been issued by Hezbollah regarding the assignment of Hariri to form the government, although his ally, Speaker of Parliament and leader of the Amal Movement Nabih Berri, announced his intention to name Hariri.
Ghassan Jawad indicates that Hezbollah is still adhering to two points in the process of forming the government: form and content, as it did during the mandate of Mustafa Adeeb; In the form – and according to Jawad – Hezbollah is still sticking to the money portfolio and naming the Shiite ministers, and “it seems that this issue has been agreed upon between Hariri and Hezbollah.”
As for the content, Jawad said that Hezbollah announced approval of the content of the French initiative, with the exception of 10%, which is being discussed with Hariri, and deals with the files of “privatization, taxes, and the International Monetary Fund.”
Jawad added that the party wants to take guarantees from Hariri regarding the International Monetary Fund, so it does not refuse to cooperate with it, but without setting political conditions, and “will not accept handing over the country on a white paper under the pretext of reform.”
In fact, it seems that Hariri’s assignment with votes that may not exceed half of the votes of the Lebanese Parliament, which consists of 128 deputies, heralds a new crisis during the composition process.
However, the deputy of the parliamentary “Future” bloc, Muhammad al-Hajjar, considers that Hariri will constitutionally win the mandate after obtaining the majority of votes, and without the presence of another candidate for his side.
While future representatives refuse to comment on Aoun’s speech, Hajjar points out in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that Hariri is the only person authorized to perform the rescue mission, in the absence of another candidate who accepts responsibility for saving Lebanon based on the terms of the French initiative.
Al-Hajjar considers that the most important thing is to conduct the constitutional entitlement in the binding consultations in the Republican Palace, and confirms that Hariri does not provide guarantees to any political party that contradicts international conditions and the French initiative, according to Al-Hajjar.
He said, “We are facing a golden and final opportunity with Hariri, who intends to form an important government to save the country. Otherwise, the fate of Lebanon will be to hell, chaos and ruin.”
In another context, former MP Fares Saeed considers that President Aoun, who was unable to obstruct Hariri’s assignment, wanted from his speech to establish an equation in which he wanted a net partnership in forming the government to the point of obstruction if he did not like Hariri’s formation. Saeed is unlikely to accomplish his mission easily.
And he indicates to Al-Jazeera Net that after consultations, Lebanon may enter into a new crisis in the event that the dispute between Hariri and Aoun intensifies, who will not accept his absence from the process of writing and selecting ministers. He said, “Hezbollah in this case will stand by and watch the two parties to take advantage of the wasted time, until everyone realizes that the crisis in Lebanon is neither political nor internal, but rather a crisis of a system that is not suitable for continuation.”